Grants spread wealth of public TV, radio

The U.S. Commerce Department recently awarded nearly $26 million in grants

to103 organizations to help create and strengthen public broadcasting services

in communities nationwide.

Through the department's Public Telecommunications Facilities Program

(PTFP), 56 public radio stations, 41 public TV stations, five noncommercial

groups and one university project will use the money primarily to maintain

and upgrade their equipment or convert it to a digital format, spokesman

Art Brodsky said.

Nineteen communities in 15 states will use the money to start new public

radio services for about 434,000 people. Program funds also will be used

for the purchase or planning of five distance-learning proposals.

The winners include:

* The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Public School System

received about $300,000 for an interactive videoconferencing system that

will be used by the school system, the governor's office, Northern Marianas

College and the Commonwealth Health Center, among others.

* The Tohono O'odham Nation received about $400,000 to activate a new

public radio station in Sells, Ariz., for about 20,000 people living on

2.8 million acres of reservation lands.

* The Nebraska Educational Telecommunications Commission received about

$3.2 million for the digital conversion of the state's nine public TV stations,

which serve more than 1.6 million people.

The PTFP grants have been administered for more than 35 years. According

to the Commerce Department, program assistance has enabled public television

to reach about 95 percent of the country's population, and public radio

has reached 90 percent.

A complete list of grant recipients is available through the department's

National Telecommunications and Information Administration Web site at www.ntia.doc.gov.

Related links

The PTFP grants for 2000 http://www.ntia.doc.gov/otiahome/ptfp/projects/2000/index.htm

"Communities split millions to fight divide" [civic.com, Sept. 29, 2000]

/civic/articles/2000/0925/web-grant-09-29-00.asp

"Conn. public TV gets $2M to go digital" [civic.com, July 3, 2000] /civic/articles/2000/july/civ-comm5-07-00.asp

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